Silver Bay woman takes golf title againNorma O’Leary overcame bogies on the first two holes to card a 1-under-par 71 and win the Nemadji Women’s Invitational at the Nemadji Golf Course in Superior last week.
By: Forum Newspapers, Lake County News Chronicle
Norma O’Leary overcame bogies on the first two holes to card a 1-under-par 71 and win the Nemadji Women’s Invitational at the Nemadji Golf Course in Superior last week.
O’Leary, the greens superintendent at the Silver Bay Golf Course, won her ninth Nemadji Invitational by six strokes over runner-up Deb Showalter, who finished with a 77.
Barb Olson won the Senior First Flight with an 86, one stroke better than Joan Richardson’s 87 and two better than Cheryl Mortenson’s 88.
O’Leary finished her first nine holes with a 38, which included a birdie on No. 5E.
Her second nine holes on the West were much better with a 33 and included an eagle on No. 13W and birdies on No. 11W and 17W.
“I don’t remember all the wins, but I will always remember this one because of that back nine,” O’Leary said. “Bouncing one in for an eagle on 13W was helpful. That was a big shot because Deb made a great putt to save par and kept it from being a four-stroke swing.”
While the eagle helped extend her lead over Showalter to four strokes, O’Leary said her birdie on 11W was even bigger.
“Making that shot made me comfortable and helped me relax the rest of the round,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary also birdied 17W, a hole that played a key role in her win at last year’s invitational.
O’Leary trailed Lisa Moline by one stroke last year when they approached the No. 17W tee.
But Moline hit her drive over the green and into the pond while O’Leary put her tee shot about four feet from the cup.
After Moline’s six on the hole, O’Leary sunk her birdie putt for a three-stroke lead with one hole to play.
“Oddly enough I grabbed my 8-iron when I got to that tee, but I remembered that shot and told myself that ‘long is dead’ so I switched to a 9-iron and came within about a foot and a half for a birdie,” O’Leary said. “The wind was in our face and the hole was 117 yards, so I was thinking I’d rather be short than long. I don’t know if a regular 8-iron would have gone over, but getting a birdie is nice.”
O’Leary’s 71 is the lowest winning score since Showalter carded a 70 to win the 2004 Nemadji Invitational.
“This course is good to me,” O’Leary said. “The greens are absolutely beautiful and in great shape. They’re so true. I love putting on these greens.”
The July 27 tournament was the first of the year for O’Leary, who turned 50 this week and is thinking about playing in the Minnesota Senior Amateur.